This week, Debi Hertert of hostingyourhome.com coaches Ann Sigler, a Portland area Uber driver and imminent Airbnb host. Ann has lived in her house for 36 years, just retired from Intel, and wants to try her hand at hosting. Debi is helping her get started. Ann would like to begin hosting in September, 2016.
You may wonder where Debi finds people to interview, and there isn’t any one, single way. Debi met Ann when Debi requested an Uber driver for a ride home from the Portland Airbnb office where she was having a meeting, and Ann picked her up. They got talking, and it eventually evolved into this interview.
Ann does not yet have a listing for you to check out, so here are a couple of pics of her house:
As Ann walked Deb through the house, Deb talked to her about furnishing options, and about parents traveling with kids who don’t necessarily need a large bed. Ann told Debi about water damage to the bathroom. The damage includes some mold and the insurance will cover part of her situation but not all. The 2nd Bedroom was nice – queen bed, blinds, and Deb talked to Ann about people wanting a place to put their suitcase and options. Closet is cleaned out.
Deb talked to her about needing bedside tables and lamps, and extension cords for charging devices etc. This is a recommendation Debi always makes, is to have extension cords with at least three outlets on each side of every bed, and where possible, at the ends of couches. There are so many devices to plug in now and people don’t want to have to travel with their own extension cords.
Ann’s own bedroom – Deb talked with Ann about locks for not only her room but for the guests’ rooms.
They walked outside, and Debi loved the flowers and pergola. They sat at the table, and Deb then summarized the accommodation options as being 2 to 4, plus Ann. Deb suggested she just start with one bedroom and see how it goes. She asked Ann about the timeline, with the bathroom needing repairs. Ann is hoping for September.
Ann also needs time to get her application completed for Washington County to operate a short-term rental and the two of them discussed occupancy taxes and how those are different depending on jurisdiction. Debi has been contacted by people who operate Airbnb’s but are not aware of what occupancy taxes even are. It’s true that there are some jurisdictions that simply have not dealt with short term rentals and occupancy taxes, in which case it definitely saves the owner a lot of money. But hosts should perform due diligence and find out what the rules are in your area.
Ann confirmed that she had just retired from Intel, a major employer in the area, with several campuses. Ann’s location is good for guests who have reason to go to Intel and there are good bus and train connections from her house. Ann brought up that she was an Uber driver and could drive guests. Deb asked her about possibility of using an Intel bulletin board since she is a past employee.
Deb brought up the Airbnb “Business Ready” category of Airbnb listing, in which the host has to meet certain requirements, including no pets. Ann has a cat so that nixes the category for her, but Deb still thinks she could attract business people for Intel and gave her a workaround suggesting “Near Intel/Nike” in the title of her listing.
Ann told Debi about her new job as Ex Dir of Beaverton Downtown Association, part of the Main Street national organization. This job has stipend support from Intel, which supports the connection of retirees and local non-profits.
Deb went back to the discussion of insurance for Ann’s house. When Ann called her insurance company to confirm the policy would cover short term rentals, they said no. Even though Airbnb has their important insurance policy coverage for hosts, everyone needs their own insurance policy and many will not cover short term rentals.
They also talked about hosting both men and women guests and whether Ann felt comfortable hosting both. The kitchen will be shared with guests.
The episode wraps up with Ann talking about her driving experiences with Uber and how she likes to ask people she “Ubers” about their Airbnb experiences, as hosts or guests or both.